Hitler’s logic, as well as many others at the time, was that the masses were being victimized by the Jews. They felt that the Jews were manipulating and dominating the economy and were oppressing other segments of society. So, Hitler and the native Germans were the victims and the Jews were the rich, privileged oppressors. Using his bully pulpit and the state-controlled media, he was able to convince the masses that the Jewish race was evil and that they needed to be controlled and their possessions confiscated. Having successfully promoted his propaganda, he was able to relegate them to the status of being sub-human. But this was not a sub-human status on the order of a person’s pet dog or cat, it was more on the level of being a cock roach. And the progression from there is only natural. You don’t try to cohabitate with cock roaches, you exterminate them.
Recent current events are all too reminiscent of the beginnings of Hitler’s holocaust. The media, along with various political groups, are already well on their way to repeating Hitler’s evil slide. During the past decade, they have relegated a contingent of Americans as oppressors and are now hell-bent on labeling them as privileged. If you follow Hitler’s narrative, you can predict the next episode. Those perceived to be privileged oppressors are derided and ridiculed in the public arena. Groups of people are labeled and demonized, fomenting hate toward them by the rest of the nation. As in Hitler’s time, laws should be passed to limit their ability to prosper and redistribute their possessions to those who feel victimized. Left to natural progression one can easily imagine what the unabated natural outcome will be. So, the question is, are we really remembering the Holocaust, or are we on the slippery slope to repeating it?
What can we do to stop this pell-mell downhill slide to another holocaust?
- Stop demonizing those with whom you disagree. Labeling other groups of people with vitriolic adjectives allows you to see them as less than human and gives you the right to mistreat them. Every person is special in God’s eyes and should be in our eyes too.
- Take responsibility for your own life and circumstances. America and most of Europe is a place where anyone can fulfill their dreams. The opportunities are equal, but the outcome depends on the individual. Millions are immigrating to America and Western Europe because they know this to be a fact.
- Recognize the devastating consequences of envy. No one that I know espouses the virtues of covetousness. It will lead you down a road of bitterness with nothing but regrets that will hound you day and night.
- Look for opportunities to show acceptance, kindness and affirmation to people outside your comfort zone. Remember that this does not always mean someone of lower socio-economic status. Inside we are all the same -- looking for affirmation and acceptance. Remember that Jesus was a man of low esteem, yet he confidently and compassionately reached out with affirmation and unconditional love to Zacchaeus, a privileged oppressor of the people of Jesus time. And Jesus actions made an immediate transformational change in the life of Zacchaeus. (Luke 19:1-10)